Involvement of the Roger Federer Foundation
Since 2013 the Roger Federer Foundation is financing the Bokamoso early childhood and development educational programme in rural areas of Botswana and in particular in favor of the marginalised indigenous San communities. The goal is to formally qualify early childhood education and care givers of their own ethnic group. It further aims to address the problem of the high rate of drop–out of San children from primary schools and to involve parents and communities on the importance of early childhood and formal education. The Board has approved CHF 1,330,000 for this programme. In December 2015, the first phase was evaluated and the following has been achieved with a total budget of CHF 760.000:
- 14 existing but closed preschools were re-opened on the initiative of the village communities and more or less put back into operation. However, the mobilization of the population has varied greatly, depending on the community. In two communities, the preschools only resumed operations again thanks to the initiative of the teachers themselves, and the involvement of the local population is minimal. The other preschools have achieved a mark of «above average» in terms of child-friendliness, safety, play area, learning materials, and hygiene. In two cases, even more space was provided by the community to accommodate the larger number of children and conduct two classes.
- All 24 candidates successfully completed the training course and have been active in their community as preschool teachers. On the basis of in-class observations, the quality of instruction in terms of child-friendliness, use of teaching aids, creativity, and interactive teaching ranged from average to above-average. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the skills learned in training are more firmly grounded in the second phase of the programme.
- One difficulty that arose during the programme was that 15% of the trained preschools teachers had been recruited to work in the primary schools. From an overall perspective, this is not a loss for the children, but there is once again a lack of know-how at the preschool level.
- The absence rate among San children fell at the 12 primary schools by an average of 7%; here as well, the results in the different communities varied greatly. In one community where the population is particularly involved, the absence rate dropped by 16%. However, the success in the area of drop-outs was particularly impressive. At five schools, not a single drop-out was recorded in 2015. Among the rest of the schools, the rate fell by 5% to an average of 3.5%. In addition, in the three years of the programme, 337 children returned to school after dropping out.
- The school administration attributed these results to the introduction of the teaching assistants.
- For a programme to be sustainable after the exit of the external motivator, it is crucial for the community to take the lead in early education. As noted above, the willingness to do this was minimal in two communities, as a result of which further investments during a second phase made little sense. In the remaining communities, the responsibility of the local population was ranked as «above-average, » which, in the context of the San, can be seen as a surprising success. Only the parents' involvement in the education of their children was rated as average. This is one of the reasons why the number of children helped by the programme was only 2,000 instead of the planned 5,500. Here, we need to continue raising awareness among the communities.
Based on the outcomes of the evaluation the second phase of the programme has been designed to guarantee sustainability for two years including the following objectives:
- Communities to take responsibility for the operation and sustainability of local ECDE initiatives
- Preschool teachers to increase their skills and motivation for offering better quality ECDE services
- Liaison persons (“knowledge brokers”) to strengthen permanent learning on improved service provision
- Many of the results of the evaluation such as increase primary school enrollment and parents involvement in education need further strengthening in some of the communities to secure the intervention’s impact on an improved access to inclusive education for San children.
- The exit phase is needed in selected communities to improve local ownership, further training and mentoring to teachers
- Direct beneficiaries: 19 teachers and 533 children.
In parallel Bokamoso offers a qualification course for preschool teachers in order to improve the quality of preschool education in other rural areas of Botswana which are not San settlements. 46 candidates from three regions of Chobe, Okovango and Ghanzi will get an officially accepted qualification. The idea is to qualify in all remaining preschools of the country at least one teacher until 2018, reaching out to 360 preschool teachers in total. It includes also a contribution by the communities of the preschool. They are required to provide 25% of the training costs for ensuring their ownership and commitment to engage in favor of a favorable preschool environment. After three years this amount will be paid back to the communities for further investments into the preschool.
Our implementing partner Letloa/Bokamoso Trust
The «Letloa Trust» is the lead organisation of the Kuru Family of Organisations (KFO), a family of eight non-governmental organisations working in Botswana and South Africa. The «Bokamoso Trust» is one of the eight sub-organizations focusing on education. They have a common goal: to empower the most vulnerable group of indigenous peoples in Southern Africa, the San, to take control of their own futures. The San are thought to have lived in the Kalahari for several thousand years. Until recently they practiced nomadic hunting and gathering. However, their traditional economy has been eroded for many decades by loss of land and access to important natural resources. The San are today one of the most marginalised communities in Southern Africa and San children’s integration in the formal education system is poor. Currently, KFOs work reaches 40% of the San in Botswana and 70% of the San in South Africa. The KFO has prioritised the following areas to facilitate empowerment of its target groups: Land & Livelihoods, Health, Culture and Education.
The role of «Letloa Trust» is to give strategic direction, to build the member numbers, to provide technical, institutional, financial and fundraising management and to run some programs of cross-cutting nature. The «Bokamoso Trust» is the operational unit of the program.
Primary school enrolement ratio87%
Pre-schools enrolment ratio16.5%
Adult illiteracy rate17%
Drop out of San children in Ghanzi55%